’"May I use yer grindstun?” said the young feller.
‘"Dunno,” said Rat, “I’m only the hired man here. Go an’ ask Mis’ Tupper.”
‘The ol’ lady had overheard him an’ so she says t’ the young feller, “Yes — ye can use the grindstun. The hired man out there’ll turn it fer ye.”
‘Rat see he was trapped, an’ so he went out under the plum tree, where the stun was, an’ begun t’ turn. The scythe was dull an’ the young feller bore on harder’n wuz reely decent fer a long time. Rat begun t’ git very sober lookin’.
’"Ain’t ye ’bout done,” said he.
‘"Putty nigh,” said the young feller bearin’ down a leetle harder all the time.
’Rat made the stun go faster. Putty soon he asked agin, “Ain’t ye done yit?”
‘"Putty nigh!” says the other, feeling o’ the edge.
‘"I’m done,” said Rat, an’ he let go o’ the handle. “I dunno ’bout the scythe but I’m a good deal sharper’n I wuz.”
’"You’re the hired man here ain’t ye?” said the young feller.
’"No, I ain’t,” said Rat. “‘D rather own up t’ bein’ a liar than turn that stun another minnit.”
As soon as he was fairly started with this droll narrative the strain of the situation was relieved. We were all laughing as much at his deliberate way of narration as at the story itself.
Suddenly he turned to Elizabeth Brower and said, very soberly, ‘Will you bring me some water in a glass?’
Then he opened his chest of medicine, made some powders and told us how to give them.
‘In a few days I would take him into the big woods for a while,’ he said. ‘See how it agrees with him.’
Then he gathered up his things and mother went with him to the gig.
Humour was one of the specifics of Doctor Bigsby. He was always a poor man. He had a way of lumping his bills, at about so much, in settlement and probably never kept books. A side of pork paid for many a long journey. He came to his death riding over the hills one bitter day not long after the time of which I write, to reach a patient.
The haying over, we made ready for our trip into the woods. Uncle Eb and Tip Taylor, who knew the forest, and myself, were to go with Gerald to Blueberry Lake. We loaded our wagon with provisions one evening and made ready to be off at the break of day.
I remember how hopefully we started that morning with Elizabeth Brower and Hope waving their handkerchiefs on the porch and David near them whittling. They had told us what to do and what not to do over and over again. I sat with Gerald on blankets that were spread over a thick mat of hay. The morning air was sweet with the odour of new hay and the music of the bobolink. Uncle Eb and Tip Taylor sang merrily as we rode over the hills.